Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs)

 Citizens can become become involved in serving their community, their state and in some cases the country as a trained member of a CERT unit.  CERT members, once trained and certified, can be called on to assist in disasters as well as major non-emergency events nationwide.  Specialties cover most aspects of disaster response and recovery, including first aid, operating an emergency shelter and emergency communications.

People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace. If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members can apply the training learned in the classroom and during exercises to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERTs provide useful information to responders and support their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site. CERT members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to distribute and/or install smoke alarms, replace smoke alarm batteries in the home of elderly, distribute disaster education material, provide services at special events, such as parades, sporting events, concerts and more.

Royalston’s public safety departments, led by the Royalston Emergency Management Agency and with the full support of the Board of Selectmen are actively working to equip the Royalston Community School with all of the things needed so that facility can serve as an emergency shelter during major disasters.  For this project to be successful, however, we will need volunteers, trained by the American Red Cross, to operate and manage the shelter should it ever be needed.  Please consider becoming a shelter volunteer, becoming an critically needed resource both here in Royalston or wherever disaster strikes.  If you are interested in serving your community please review the information at www.citizencorps.gov/cert/ and contact the contact Jim Barclay, EMD at ema@royalston-ma.gov for more information.